Sunday, 6 May 2007


This week's Sunday Scribbling's prompt was 'Ocean'.

(This a shot of the beach and the Esplanade buildings beyond the sea-wall at St Clair, Dunedin.)

I've always had a fear of tidal waves, or tsunamis. I like to be within earshot of the ocean, but far enough away - or high enough above - to be safe from the threat for myself and my family and home of being washed away by a sudden gulp from the sea.

The ocean is a huge mass of water. As it lashes at the land's borders, it appears to be desperate to 'come aboard'. Because I am constantly aware of this aspect, even though I love the ocean, I never lose a slightly uneasy feeling - call it a healthy respect - as I walk beside it. Especially the part of the coast where I live, with breakers and rollers that heave themselves with considerable force against the cliffs and rocks and into the bays.

Today I met a friend for coffee at a cafe I call the Saltwater Cafe, even tho' that's not its official name. It's situated right by the sea. Because there was no room inside, we sat at a table outside, huddled into our coats. The day had cooled down and there was a sharp, cold wind. As we talked, we watched the sparks of the late afternoon light dim and then leave the water's surface.

We could see wet-suited surfers and body-boarders and farther along some kayakers, all parrying with high-tide waves that relentlessly pushed towards shore.

The rush of the waves punctuated our conversation with an amused hiss and the rhythm and sway of the waves became quite hypnotic.

Today the wind was an off-shore wind with the waves pushing against the wind and the resulting force forming the large breakers surfers live to employ. The waves in this sort of mood, rear up, and become wild things roaring on to the sand with streaming manes of snow-white hair.

At home, the wind clawed at the clothes on the line, turning the sheets and pillow-cases into spinnakers. Sails are on my mind right now, thanks to the tv broadcasts from Valencia, Spain, with shots of New Zealand's yacht slicing with ease through the water as it competes in the Louis Vuitton Cup.

The strong wind was making our wind-vane, Trev the Kiwi farmer, work really hard turning the propellers to crank up the tractor's engine.

And he was feeling mighty grumpy about it too.

I looked up and saw seagulls enjoying the ride in the wind. Surfers, yachties and seagulls; they all love the wind.


That was yesterday. Today calm has been restored.

The plants are resting up after yesterday's day-long waltz in the wind. Trev is also enjoying a rest.

And I was thrilled to hear a tui.

(It's worth clicking on the above image for a closer view. And I must thank Apprentice for her very fine tip advising me to try the Sport aperture when taking photos of birds - it worked!)

It made a fleeting visit to the kowhai tree outside our deck at lunch-time today. He was very vocal and clacked and croaked a song interspersed with perfect chimes. The bellbird and the tui have very similar songs, but that's because the tui is a mimic and steals the bellbird's song.



McDinzie said...

Oh a very majestic tui indeed....great I suppose I should read the words :)

Kay Cooke said...

Why thank you - high praise indeed! Not as good as Dinzies as far as the depth and clarity of colour - but I'm still pretty stoked.

Pip said...

Wonderful photos of the Tui! I too have been enjoying watching our local boy singing from the natives above our courtyard. He's been particularly vocal this week.

It's funny the way we both empathise with and yet fear the ocean. As a child all my parents used to have to say to me was 'the tide is coming in' and I'd be in the car and ready to be taken home. I guess we have an instinctive respect for the sea's power.

apprentice said...

Great shot CB

Buy the odd digital mag, they are full of great tips, and 6 months worth should really be all you need and often they give awat free software, like a version of Abobe elements that would help you post edit pix.

The must be a poem in the tui/bellbird story.

Tammy Brierly said...

This was a wonderful post CB, filled with awesome shots and prose. I'm falling in love with your country. xxoo

Kamsin said...

I love wild windswept days, but then the wind and waves are so much tamer here in the UK methinks!
Lovely photos!

Katherine Dolan said...

That shot of the roiling sea is excellent! I forgot how wild the ocean gets @ St. C.
Also I lol about Trev.'s expression.

rel said...

The ocean and the wind are
powerful entities that command our respect and in return gives us many moments of quiet reflective time as well as magnificent displays of force. Respect is the key word. Another blog friend ( said of the ocean in her "ocean " scribble ... "the ocean doesn't care", meaning it won't hurt you as long as you are mindful.
Your trigger finger with your canno is getting better and better!

Jan said...

I love your end comments re birds stealing songs...there are some people like that, are there not?!
I love your photographs and have decided taking wonderful snaps clearly runs in your family!!
I was given a superb new digital camera for my birthday bit much to everyone's disgust, I STILL tend to use my old APS!
You are SO very lucky to live on the coast; I envy you the waves, the surge of the sea ( I liked its " amused hiss!!) ....even while you're chillbillly and huddled into your coats, CB!!

Kay Cooke said...

pip- Thanks for dropping in! I liked hearing about your tui. That made me laugh abou tthe tide! I definitely empathise!

apprentice - Thanks ... getting there. May look into the mag. idea.
yes you're right - I have written a poem about the tui and it's in my book. (I just about posted it beside the photo.) May still do that ...

tammy - I need to see about becoming an ambassador! ;)

kamsin - I think I've heard about some large storms on your islands as well? I believe tho that NZ is a windier place tho' - more exposed.

katherine - I love Trev's expression too - he never fails to make me laugh.
'roiling' ... I LOVE that word. Thanks for reminding me of its existence!

rel - Thanks very much. I must go to that link. It sounds as if we have similar attitudes to the briny deep!

jan - I have feasted on all those lovely compliments of yours!

Di Mackey said...

Didn't it used to be called 'The Candlelight' cafe?

Is it The Espanade Cafe these days? I can't remember, only that it's Carbonara was to die for ... with a little red wine and the view.

Kay Cooke said...
This comment has been removed by the author.

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